Meet the Press: @GTPaulJohnson Previews #GTvsNCSU

Nov. 4, 2014

Audio of Coach Johnson’s Press Conference

Opening Statement
“Well I was pleased with our team’s performance on Saturday against Virginia. I thought that defensively we played our best game of the year, and hopefully we can take that momentum and build on it. We’ll need to have a good effort this week. Certainly the quarterback for N.C. State, [Jacoby] Brissett, is a talented player. He’s got good size and he’s very elusive. They’ve got two or three pretty good running backs and a veteran offensive line. They’re formidable on that side. And then I’ve been impressed with their defensive tackles inside; they’re both good players. In their last game they had maybe eight sacks and 10 or 12 tackles for loss against Syracuse. They’ve got pass rushers on the edge and the inside guys are tough and physical. Any time you go on the road it’ll be a tough game.”

KeShun Freeman’s progress this year
“I think KeShun has played well pretty much all year. He’s getting more comfortable and he’s playing faster. He’s got some explosion. He’s a good athlete and he plays hard. I think he’s got a bright future if he continues to work and continues to improve. He’s a very conscientious kid. He’s great off the field and on the field. He’s fun to be around.”

NC State’s aggressive defense
“I think so, probably. I think the last couple of games they’ve gotten more aggressive. It’s a little harder to blitz against what we do than some other teams. I’m sure they’ll take the tape and take what they felt gave us problems and use it. They’ll have their own ideas on how to play too. We’ll just have to get into it once the game starts.”

The defense’s improvement leading up to Saturday’s game
“Well we’d gotten a lot of turnovers in the Pitt game. The thing that really helped us on Saturday was the third downs. That was the best we’d been by far on third downs. We got good pressure. I think that the defensive coaches had a good plan and we got good pressure. We challenged the receivers for the most part. We were able to get off the field on third down and that’s what it’s all about. ”

The emergence of Synjyn Days
“Synjyn’s played well. I think it’s the nature of the offense. It’s the position, if you look, that historically gets some yards. But certainly he’s played well and physical. He’s a big guy and he’s hard to tackle. He breaks some tackles and he certainly broke some on Saturday. He’s probably getting more comfortable with the path, where he’s going, reading the inside blocks and that kind of thing. He really hasn’t surprised me. I thought he would do good in there and he has.”

Synjyn Day’s transition from quarterback to B-back
“He was the running quarterback anyway. He was a guy who ran the ball a lot in high school and the transition has been fairly easy for him. He’s gotten bigger and stronger. At first we put him outside at A-back, but Synjyn’s probably about 225 or maybe even bigger. He probably doesn’t want me to tell you how much he weighs. He’s physical and for the most part he kept most of his speed. Like anybody when you get a little bigger and a little thicker, you’re probably not as fast as [you were] when you weighed 195. He’s a pretty good athlete. He can do a lot of things like most high school quarterbacks. Most of the time those guys are usually some of the better athletes in the school.”

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s impact at N.C. State
“It’s noticeable. He can make plays and he creates a lot off of broken plays. He’s hard to get down. He’s a good scrambler. I think he’s very accurate when you don’t get pressure on him. He’s not a fast guy, but he’s a real elusive guy. And for a big guy he’s very misleading because he makes a lot of guys miss. He gives them another dimension. And they’ve kind of had a tale of two schedules. The first part of their schedule wasn’t as tough and then they hit four pretty good teams that are already bowl eligible in Florida State, Clemson, Louisville and then Boston College. So it’s hard to really get a good gauge on them. We’ve got all the respect in the world for them. We know it’s going to be hard fought game going up there and it’s hard place to play too.”

The defense’s confidence following the Virginia game
“Well I think any time you do well your confidence is going to go up hopefully. And hopefully you can take the momentum and gain from it. You’d like for it to be a pattern and not an enigma. A one game thing. That’s out there and hopefully we’ll get a good plan and go up to Raleigh and play another good game defensively. We will certainly need to.”

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